Building in Recovery with Adequate and Quality Sleep

In the last blog, I talked about the need to build in recovery time for our wellbeing, overall function, and happiness.  Let’s talk about the ultimate recovery: sleep.

Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep seems to be what is needed for the average adult although this can vary by individual. If you are not sure about your quality of sleep, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I feel tired or drowsy during the day?
  • Do I wake up feeling well-rested?
  • Do I wake up several times per night?
  • Do I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
  • Do I have trouble focusing on work because I feel tired?
  • Do I rely on caffeine to get through the day?

If you answered yes to those questions, you may want to consider setting yourself up for better sleep success.  Poor sleep can cause memory, concentration, and mood issues.  Over time, lack of quality sleep has been linked to health issues.  On a positive note, getting adequate sleep can improve our health, make us safer and happier! More Sleep Would Make Us Happier, Healthier and Safer.

Knowing that improving the quality and quantity is a healthy goal and getting it done are two different things.   Adequate rest is an absolute necessity.  By getting enough rest, we adhere to our physical nature and improve our wellbeing.  Restful sleep gives your body time to heal and recover.  It gives your brain time to consolidate new learning and form memories.

If you are not getting adequate sleep, have you looked into options to help set yourself up for sleep success?

Here are some basic tips which may require you to start a new habit:

  1. Stay on a schedule.  Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  2. Sorry, friends.  The electronics have got to go.  The TV.  The COMPUTER and the PHONE!  The blue light that is emitted from screens can delay the release of melatonin and increase alertness.  It messes with our sleep cycles.  Shut the electronic devices down.  Sleep is for sleep.
  3. Try some deep breathing or meditation before you go to bed.
  4. Get outside during the day if you can and let the sunshine in.  It helps keep our circadian rhythm in check.
  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
  6. Try some relaxing scents like lavender on your pillow.
  7. Set your room temperature to a cooler setting.
  8. Make sure it’s dark.  Even those little lights that are on the cable box or clock can be enough to disturb your sleep.
  9. Try a white noise machine especially if you live in an area where cars pass by and people are coming and going regularly.  Those intermittent sounds can disrupt your sleep.  Having a white noise machine that produces natural and ambient sounds can support your sleep.
  10. Get regular exercise!  Ideally, a morning or afternoon session is best because it allows your body temperature to rise and then fall back to the normal range in time for sleep.  Exercising in the evening may keep you up because of the stimulating effects.
  11. Choose a high-performance mattress and pillow.  Beds can be expensive but you are spending almost a third of your life there.
  12. Choose sheets and blankets that feel comfortable to the touch and maintain a comfortable temperature through the night.
  13. If you are making changes in the amount of time you sleep, make them gradually.

Sleep is so important to how we function and how we feel.  Think of a time when you have had a classic terrible night’s sleep.  More than likely, you were miserable the next day, probably cranky, and you didn’t function well.  But even a subpar night’s sleep diminishes some of our happiness.  You deserve every edge you can get to increase your whole being happiness.

Consider experimenting to see what works for you.  Investing some time and effort in creating a sleep sanctuary will go a long way in improving how you feel and function.

It could be one of the most important parts of recovery.

If you or anyone you know is actively seeking positive change and ways to become happier, join the inSPIREd Happier Center.  We officially kick off on January 2nd with a focus on Strengths for the first month of 2022!  Join now for the special “grand opening” rate.

Karen Renaud:

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